Craig Venter Decided to Beat Calico in the Race towards Human Life Extension

craig venter life extensionWe all know how competitive Craig Venter is. Last time he won in the race against the Human Genome Project participants, and now he is up against Google’s Calico. Together with Peter Diamandis and Robert Hariri he co-founded Human Longevity, a company that aims to scan the DNA of as many as 100,000 people a year to create a massive database that will lead to new tests and therapies to help extend healthy human life spans.

Human Longevity has an agreement with the University of California at San Diego to perform genome sequencing of patients at the Moores Cancer Centre. In addition to providing DNA data to doctors at the university, the goal is to make individual genome data directly available to patients once the company meets US regulatory standards for providing clinical-level information. In addition to genome and microbiome data, the company will collect data on biochemicals and lipids circulating throughout patients’ bodies.

This sounds like a plan. The thing that Calico hasn’t got yet. Or at least hasn’t announced yet. I believe in Dr. Venter and I like his plan – gathering as much information about a person’s biological data and applying it to cure age-related diseases is a great goal. They are not saying anything about aging per se, but I’m pretty sure the data will speak for itself and at some point of time the researchers will realize they are dealing with different mechanisms of aging. So yay! for a very particular, very solid step towards defeating aging.

6 Comments

Filed under Genetics

Genetics of Aging and Longevity Conference Program is Here

GAL 2014 program - 1

 

GAL 2014 - 2

 

This is going to be the best aging meeting of all times. The program speaks for itself, but I’d like to draw your attention to the round tables in the end of each day. The first two are on the theories of aging. We will have a science battle – register for the conference and learn which theory will win!

Insanely interesting is the round table on commercial projects – where the most prominent scientists will present their startups in the area of fighting aging and age-related diseases.

My favorite is the personalized science round table where a great selection of experts will discuss the utmost importance of health monitoring, biomarkers of aging, health and diseases and also the solutions – existing and those that need to be developed to monitor our health and prevent the diseases from manifesting at a very early stage.

Leave a comment

Filed under Conference

Transhuman Visions Conference Teaser

Leave a comment

Filed under Conference

Life Extension is a Political Task

Sooner or later the human life extension problem, the task of achieving immortality will become the main issue of government policies in developed countries of the world. This will happen on its own because of the exponential growth of technologies.

At some point of time immortality will become the main political question.

This is inevitable. 

Nevertheless, let’s make this process faster to save millions of lives. In order to make this leap towards human radical life extension, political will is needed.

Without it there is no money for new research, no laws permitting the most radical experiments (cloning and transplanting a mammal’s head), there is no fast approval of new therapeutics. There is no proper interest.

We consider the gay community fighting for anti-AIDS drugs development against FDA an excellent example of political struggle. It is pictured in the How to survive the plague movie and its trailer.

Here we see the main signs of successful political struggle – large amounts of people uniting, heating of emotions, street actions, using speech, music, slogans and any other features. Vigor in being ready to fight for the right to live.

This is a spectacular example to follow. A call for action to fight for lifespan increase.

The majority of transhumanist efforts were dedicated to trying to persuade the billionaires. At large, this strategy failed. Billionaires are billionaires because they love money more than their own lives.

The major result here is Google creating Calico company. Calico’s budget was announced to be several hundreds of million dollars. However, it is still unclear what Calico will be doing. The research plan wasn’t shared with the public.

There are several reasons why persuading the billionaires failed – their preoccupation with immediate return, their religious beliefs (Steve Jobs), their irrationality and so on.

Therefore, there are only two possible addressees of our message – the government and the people. In a democratic state the policy is defined by the people’s choice, and because of this crowd activity is particularly necessary to influence the state. Moreover, the people can substitute the state. For example, back in the day the government gathered taxes from the people and spent them on various projects, but now the people can do the very same thing using crowdfunding and substitute the government. Although, perhaps, in the future we will see transhumanist parties in parliaments.

Various public actions can influence government policy. It is our task to prepare actions in favor of life extension. An idea acquired by the masses is material, Lenin wrote.

If a given idea has 20 million followers, it doesn’t need a state to win. It has already won. It can form an alternative system of decision making on the Internet, i.e. create the crowd-power.

Radical life extension is the strongest idea in the history of mankind. The Pirate party and the Green party may serve as an example of how the international life extension party will be created. First of all, there has to be a circle of people who share the same value, and separate flamboyant actions that highlight this value. Just like Greenpeace performed this action when they sailed to the island where the nuclear testing was about to take place.

However we are aware that radical life extension idea still hasn’t got enough followers, and public actions are needed to attract new supporters, because actionism is also quite fascinating. Maybe we should float 400 coffins into the Hudson River so that people will see with their own eyes how many people die in New York every day.

Another way of using the power of the crowd is crowdfunding of scientific experiments.

And it’s important to say that there are such experiments that possess the power of political acts, meaning they extend the limits of what’s possible and set the direction of further movement.

It so happens when the first step in some activity sets the direction, for example when a person gets admitted to university for particular major, this defines his movement on the professional ladder – whether he will become an economist or a dentist, a marine or an AI developer. Yes, options are possible, but the first actions triggers the following ones.

We have to find exactly this kind of solutions in our field.

For example, transplanting a head from one mammal to another will become the discovery of the whole area of research, but right now this procedure is not permitted because of the pseudoethical beliefs in the majority of the countries in the world. Today the most obscurant people with cave world view bloviate about bioethics.

What kind of experiments are those?

Restoring the activity in brain samples

One of the main arguments against cryonics is that it’s unclear whether the memory of the person will survive the freezing. However, it is well known that nematode worms survive the freezing in liquid nitrogen quite well, meaning separate neurons can survive the freezing. The question is if we teach the worm do something and cryopreserve it, will the acquired memory be intact after we warm it up? If so, then we will be able to do this experiment in more complicated organisms. If not, then… we still should move to more complicated models and study the requirements for memory preserving.

Implementing aging diagnostics in the clinical setting

If we are able to do aging diagnostics, we will be able to measure the efficacy of anti-aging drugs much faster than watching whole generations of humans age, meaning we will see the effects within our lifetime. This is how aging will stop being a black box and will become a quantitative and changeable parameter.

Testing various substances and therapies on longevity will stop being some shaman magic and will gain solid scientific basis. Drug development will become very rapid and significant human life extension will be achieved.

Life extension in old mice using longevity associated genes

We can use genetic vectors and other technologies to insert various genes associated with longevity in adult mice, and we can select the combinations of those genes that will significantly increase lifespan. This will pave the way to creating human longevity genetic engineering.

Let’s do those things to a rat that make the naked mole rat negligibly senescent.

Transplantation of therapeutically cloned organs

This experiment will illustrate the potential of therapeutic cloning and will open new opportunities in regenerative medicine.

Sustaining viability of a mammal’s head for more than 1 year outside the body

If we are able to sustain viability of a head outside the body, this will open up the new possibility for extending life in terminally ill people, including the transition to using the completely artificial body.

Working model of the nematode worm’s brain

It we are able to simulate the operations of the 300 neurons of the nematode and reconstruct its behavior, then we will prove the sufficiency of our knowledge for more complicated objects.

Applying AI for diagnostics using tens of thousands of parameters

AI can become a powerful player in healthcare – if we have the detailed information about our health, we will be able to easily prevent any kind of disorders on very early stages of their development. By doing so we will significantly reduce the risk of death. In the end AI will not only act as a physician, but it will also conduct scientific experiments and will guarantee human life, health and immortality.

Based on everything said I propose collaboration on the following three things:

First of all, crowdfunding of basic scientific research. There is a new service that would connect the public and medical research – LabCures. It will allow everyone to fund whichever research in life-sciences that they like.

Secondly, we propose to join the Longevity Party group on Facebook and use this resource for organizing street actions, demonstrations, graffiti and so on.

Thirdly, I invite everyone to come to our Genetics of Aging and Longevity conference in Sochi on April 6-10, 2014. The world’s leading aging researchers will gather there to discuss the latest research highlights in the field of life extension. We will be very happy to see volunteers on our conference.

4 Comments

Filed under Policy

Genetics of Aging and Longevity Conference – Venue Chosen

One of the best conferences in the world, Genetics of Aging and Longevity conference, will take place on April 6-10 in Sochi, the city of 2014 Olympic Games. A couple of words about the event – the best geneticists of aging will gather to share their latest research on

  • Longevity genes in human and animals
  • Epigenetic mechanisms of aging
  • Inflammation and hyperfunction, intertwined mechanisms of aging?
  • Environment, genes and aging
  • Biomarkers of biological age
  • Pharmacological interventions in aging
  • Strategies for regenerative medicine applied to humans
  • Systems biologyof aging and longevity
  • Comparative biology of lifespan
  • Oxidative damage and aging

And now we know the place where the magic will happen – Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Center. Here are the pictures of the place.

Don’t forget to register for Genetics of Aging and Longevity here

Radisson

Room 3

Room 2

Rooms 1

Rest 3

rest 2

Rest

Meeting room 1

Congress center

Spa 3

Spa 2

Spa 1

Fitness center

Spa pool

Swimming pool

Map

1 Comment

Filed under Mechanisms of aging

Vote Kennedy in the Presidential Election

kennedy-brian-1

If your life depends on someone other than yourself, that would be Brian Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy is the President of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, a world’s leading research institute that brings together outstanding scientists who work together on solving the mystery of aging and revealing the ways of increasing our health span. Basically, it’s up to the successes of the large team led by Brian Kennedy whether you will live a long and enjoyable life, or not.

An excellent example of my  words is the most recent amazing work done by Dr. Pankaj Kapahi and his research group, who was able to extend nematode’s lifespan 5-fold. The trick was to switch off two genes in one worm simultaneously – the TOR  and the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (named daf-2) genes. It has been known that turning off TOR in a worm gives it a 30% longer lifespan, and turning off daf-2 doubles the lifespan. One could think that 100% + 30% = 130%, but Dr. Kapahi’s worms decided they know Math better and lived 5 times longer, proving that sometimes  100% + 30% = 500%. What happened is the synergy between blocking the two aging mechanisms – the TOR and insulin/IGF-1 signaling. I have always said that there are so many things  we know that extend lifespan – let’s try the combinations of those things. Indeed, this proved to be a fruitful strategy. I am looking forward to seeing more and more papers combining different interventions in aging mechanisms and getting synergistic results.

pankaj kapahiPankaj Kapahi's paper

Regardless of the country where you live, it always makes sense to vote for someone who may increase the chances for extending your lifespan. Of course, Dr. Brian Kennedy is not participating in the presidential elections, however it would be excellent if the politicians fought for our lives. I think it’s up to us to demand that the politicians include increasing funding for aging research as part of their programs. We have to show it matters. A lot.

2 Comments

Filed under genomics, Mechanisms of aging

“You May not Die” Exhibit Starts December 9th in Marat Guelman’s Gallery in Moscow

One of the best art galleries in Moscow is going to host the first art exhibition about radical life extension – “You may not die”. This message is addressed primarily to the artistic community, and is a proposal for cooperation – let’s stand together and convince people that we have the opportunity to stay alive.

People don’t respond well to rational arguments. Therefore, Mikhail Batin (in the picture) and Alexey Turchin decided to turn to the artists and ask them to use their expression tools to show the hope that science can change the way things have always been and combat aging and all the diseases that come along. Alexey and Mikhail have created some art pieces of their own that contain the concentrated sense, which hopefully will inspire the painters to channel this sense to the public using their unique capabilities.

“The prestigious Moscow Gallery of Marat Guelman opens an exhibition of Alexey Turchin and Mikhail Batin “You may not die” on December 9, 2013.

During the opening Mikhail Batin will give a talk on transhumanism and immortalism. The exhibition will feature the Roadmap to immortality produced by Artemy Lebedev. The exhibition runs until December 15 at Winzavod in Moscow.

Death is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. In the beginning of the XXI century, development of biotechnology, nanotech and artificial intelligence has opened prospects to stop the aging processes, and achieve victory over death. However, society does not know much about the opportunities provided by contemporary science, so the pace of fundamental research is very low. If it becomes faster, our generation could become immortal.

The meaning of Alexey Turchin’s and Mikhail Batin’s art pieces completely subdues the form. They have no artistic merit – just pure message. Urgent telegram: ” You may not die.”

Rational arguments for the necessity to extend human life do not work. Only visual images have the power to convince the collective unconscious. The artist, who will do it, will change the world.

After 100 years from Dadaism, which was the apotheosis of nonsense, the concentrated absolute sense is proposed – the most important message in the history of mankind.

The text became the main content of the painting in the second half of XX century in the style of conceptualism, but it was mostly used to express irony or protest. Now contemporary art stands as a monumental form of cartoons, which works on colliding different value systems and their mutual annihilation.

The pieces of Batin and Turchin call for a new art that carries only positive content.

They inform the public about the undeniable facts. Short abstracts of two or three words, that can not be changed or disprove, will imprint in the brain.

Radical life extension can be achieved within our lifetime, if we focus all our energy on it. This is the meaning of the statement ” You may not die.” This is both a promise and a challenge, good news and a huge responsibility. It is a necessity to abandon any prejudice for the sake of rationality and science.”


4 Comments

Filed under Marketing